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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessFinding a sponsor for your Flash game (my experience with Fig. 8)
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Author Topic: Finding a sponsor for your Flash game (my experience with Fig. 8)  (Read 5978 times)
aeiowu
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Greg Wohlwend


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« on: August 06, 2009, 03:12:15 PM »

I've been hitting the pavement lately trying to find the right sponsor for our newly finished game Fig. 8. I really sunk into this thing because I believe in the game and that it deserves a proper home. From going through the whole "I'm gonna sell this for a decent price, damnit!" I feel like I've learned a few things in the process. I'm not new to getting Flash sponsorships, but I am relatively new to pushing the envelope in this arena.

A week or so ago some folks emailed me looking for tips on how they could have a better shot at sponsorship so I gave them a brief dump, but I felt that was cause enough to compile a more extensive account of what I came away with.

Making and selling Fig. 8

I'm always interested in feedback or if anyone has had any similar experiences/other tips and etc. After these last few weeks I feel like I've gone through a crash course is sales/marketing. Now I need a shower...  Epileptic

Hope this helps someone get paid for their hard work.
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genericlogin
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Sandals


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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2009, 04:53:06 PM »

How much did you get for Effing Hail?
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Massena
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2009, 07:08:09 AM »

Great article.  Smiley If it's okay I'd also like to see genericlogin's question answered.
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aeiowu
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Greg Wohlwend


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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2009, 09:42:02 AM »

I'm not sure i'm comfortable putting out those figures for everyone to see. but maybe i have nothing to worry about...  Shrug
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Alec
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2009, 02:08:30 PM »

I'm kind of curious what kind of ballpark figures (haha, pun?) flash games can make this way. Smiley

BTW the original article was really cool, thanks for putting that up.
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genericlogin
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2009, 03:17:48 PM »

I noticed I came off a little bit blunt. Sorry.  Embarrassed
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puddinlover
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2009, 07:01:35 AM »

Nice post, ya selling any indie game is always a down right pain... poor indies... we deserve better Smiley
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Junkyard Sam
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2009, 10:30:32 AM »

Thanks for writing and sharing this.  It gives a good glimpse into the importance of marketing, and even with what you posted it seems like that's just scratching the surface of what's needed in terms of marketing a game.  It's almost like marketing is 50% of the equation.  And of course, the better the game and the wider the appeal - the easier the marketing is going to be

Congratulations on your game.
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aeiowu
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Greg Wohlwend


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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2009, 12:43:20 PM »

@genericlogin - don't sweat it.

Glad you guys are getting some use out of it! Smiley I'd love it if we TIGfolk started taking over the flash world with our awesome stuff.

Yea alec, I think ballpark figures would be useful enough. I'm hungover right now so i won't go into too much exposition as far as all our games and stuff, though i want to. I think it might be more useful to share explicit figures as to what we expect from a sponsorship.

Most of the games that we try and get sponsorships for we shoot for 10K. We do aim high, and sometimes we exceed that figure. If our highest bid is less than 1K we scramble and get that up to 5K. That doesn't always work out though. What we shoot for and what we get are much different, but maybe it'd be more useful to break down why we aim for 10K...

First off, it's always best to aim high. Second, each of these games takes about a couple weeks of our dev time. We do them when we need a break from larger ongoing projects. It's refreshing, but it's also our means of feeding ourselves right now.

Let's say we each charge $60/hr for contracts (mike actually charges more) so that's $120/hr for us to make games. We spend 80 hours making a game and that comes out to $9600. Sometimes it's more than 80 hours, sometimes it's less but let's stick with those round figures for now. We're talking ballparks after all. Now a lot of people tend to devalue their work because it fulfilled your own creative itch, and while I understand that tendency, that it was enjoyable making the game, it's definitely the wrong idea if you want to make a living making games. You've gotta get rid of that idea that your games are less valuable than games/work you do for other people. It's not true at all, and even if in the end somehow it's not, you're never going to get anywhere (business wise) thinking like that.

Finally, and most importantly, every single game isn't going to net you what you need to survive. There will be high points and low points. This is much like contract work in the sense that your rates for that work are grossly inflated due to the infrequency of finding a contract. For us, realistically, we can live off a 10K sale for 5 months. So if we take 2 weeks to make a game that hits that 10K mark we've bought ourselves some awesome long dev time for something like Liferaft. That's where you want to be with this style of development. Of course of all the games we've made only one of those has come close to that. The rest are under 5K, and that's only 2 other games. This isn't even including the games we've never released or never finished because prototypes went sour. The Great Red Herring Chase was put out there totally free, as was the case with Gray (though that was for different reasons). Cockburn, a true story was the same way, we just wanted them out there. There's also crowland plus a few others that are just sitting on FGL, they may never get sponsors and we'll just release them as a blog post since they're _real_ small games.

Anyway... sorry that got a little tl;dr and i'm hungover so hope it made sense.

ZZzzzzZZZZzz
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weasello
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2009, 04:53:31 PM »

The Great Red Herring Chase was put out there totally free, as was the case with Gray (though that was for different reasons).

I think I understand the reasoning behind Gray, but why TGRHC?
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IndieElite4Eva
aeiowu
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2009, 05:00:18 PM »

we just flat out couldn't find a sponsorship. nobody wanted to touch it.

it's released exclusively on our sites (ours and jiggmin.com) though. we've got a couple of people wanting to license it so far, but nothing serious. :-/

all in all, i think this approach would have helped TGRHC. Nonetheless I think sponsors were scared of it because it's super tough. Maybe one day we'll put it on newgrounds and kong but were seeing what happens with these license deals. It's kind of like holding it hostage out of spite. "Fine, you don't want to sponsor our game, then screw you portals! We're keeping it for ourselves Tongue" Of course that's not a great attitude/chip-on-your-shoulder to have but i'm allowed one tantrum a year. Wink
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Captain_404
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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2009, 07:47:59 AM »

A few things that I've learned about sponsorships (during the course of my singular sponsorship...) that I'm not sure you mentioned in your article and I feel are good things to note:


Generally, don't post your game anywhere before its release, if a game has already gotten some popularity, a sponsor is more adept to think that's it has already reached its peak. Most sponsors are really looking for a game to draw attention to their site. Exposure gained before sponsorship is exposure lost after.

Second, if you're going to cold call, there are a couple rules you should follow.

1. Keep your message short. Sponsors don't want to and probably don't have the time to read huge paragraphs about your game. Pack as much into your sentences as you can.

2. Don't send them all the same message. They know when you're just spamming their inbox, and nobody likes that. Make sure to at least mention the sponsor's site-name in the email, but don't copy and paste! It may be easier on your fingers, but it can lead to disaster. You don't want to accidentally call a sponsor by a rival sponsor's name.

3. I actually don't know if this one helps or not, but be unique. Your email should be like a hand written note to your grade school crush, not an essay to your highschool english teacher. Well... maybe a bit more mature than gradeschool (Do u like me? [ ]yes? [ ]no?) but you get the idea. Be a person, not a robot.
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mirosurabu
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2009, 11:58:59 AM »

Hey, how is this going? I just noticed that the game is sold on FGL.
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aeiowu
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2009, 12:18:21 PM »

yep, we just accepted a bid. it went pretty well, we hope to have the game up soon.

We had one big bidding war that raised the bid by about 200% from what we had before i started this whole "trailer blitz" tactic. I'll ask the sponsor if I can be completely transparent about the dealings and if so, i'll post some hard numbers. I probably could anyway, but it's kind of in bad faith to do that i feel.
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bateleur
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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2009, 05:46:13 AM »

Just completed it - very nice game!  TigerHand Thumbs Up Right

I can see why you had trouble selling it, though. The gameplay mechanics are simple and elegant, but the theme's really surreal. In fact it seemed like a bad choice to me until I was most of the way through the game and suddenly saw the point (as it became clear how the new scenic content was generated).

I'll be interested to see how many plays it gets. I assume you get that data?
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Eclipse
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« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2009, 03:20:44 AM »

my experience is here

http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=7427.0

I think that using stuff like FGL or other middle men can be quite hurtful in most of the cases
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aeiowu
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Greg Wohlwend


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« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2009, 05:57:42 PM »

@Eclipse I'm curious about why you think it's harmful. I read you post earlier and just reread and it and didn't see any specifics about why you don't like FGL, or think it's a bad idea. I think i sort of see where you're coming from but I'd like to hear more. Personally, I think the more exposure you can give your game when you're trying to sell it, the better.

Anyway... I'm actually posting because I just got the go ahead from our sponsor to release all the details of our FGL deal. I hope this helps some people understand how these deals work and everything in between. So I broke down all the bidding information into a timeline in juicy blog post form. From the timeline it's easy to see how big an impact the trailer/press-frenzy had on getting a decent price for Fig. 8. You'll also notice there's a considerable bonus for getting a high rating on Kong and NG... So help a Tiger out and rate us a 5 when we put 'er up there Wink

Anyway, here's the link.
http://mile222.com/2009/08/breaking-down-the-fig-8-bidding-timeline/
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Terry
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2009, 04:11:17 AM »

I really appreciate you being so open about your experience with this, and I'm glad it's going well for you Smiley
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raiten
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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2009, 11:10:58 AM »

I too use Flashgamelicense but I think there are a few arguments against using it.

It's dangerous to give a couple of random guys that much power over the market. Apparently, many sponsors decide what games to view based on the game's "editor rating" which a few editors (whoever they are) give out, without much insight into the whole thing. This fact that this editor rating even existed was up until recently secret (they referred to it as an "open secret" recently but I sure had no idea).

Another apparent argument is the 10% commission fee. They claim to be doing a lot behind the scenes for all the games but in the reality - of course they don't. Maybe they help to promote the better games by giving them high "editor ratings" but good games will get sold either way. I'm not saying their entirely useless, they probably help a few people get more money for their games, but they definitely don't do that for everyone. I think I've sold one or two non-exclusive licenses of games through FGL but everything else I've ended up selling by myself (or sometimes being contacted directly by sponsors).

I have no idea how they choose the games they feature but the ones they're showcasing are hardly the best games on the site. They have their own agendas, they make games themselves (that naturally end up getting featured), and they are also pushing their own microtransactions system so they have every reason to feature games using their mtx instead those using competing systems (mochiCoins for example).
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weasello
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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2009, 11:59:27 AM »

I too use Flashgamelicense but I think there are a few arguments against using it.

Though your points may be valid, just take a look at Figure 8's bidding war. You aren't likely to get something so intense emailing one another - I'd just assume you were leading me on!

As a direct result of open bidding, Fig.8 quadrupled it's income and more than paid for the 10% commission.

As far as having "their own agenda:" FGL isn't a gaming portal, they aren't trying to drive ad revenue traffic - 'their own agenda' is selling the games that have the potential to make the most money. That includes factors such as how much legwork the developer is going to do. They'd probably promote games to the front page that are likely to sell - which doesn't equate to how good the game is in all cases. I don't think it's some big conspiracy. Tongue

Not that I've ever made a cent from FGL, and this is all hypothesis Smiley

That said: If you are trying to sell your game, it's kinda silly to exclude ANY market. Get your game EVERYWHERE, try to sell it in as many places as possible - and if FGL doesn't provide the figures you like, then just don't use them.
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IndieElite4Eva
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